Friday, 9 March 2012

My Modern Muse - Sarah at Fairyface Designs

Sarah`s Across the Seas quilt

 For the 3rd installment in the My Modern Muse series, I`m delighted to have Sarah from Fairyface Designs with me today! Last September, I took part in the Across the Seas QAL, which Sarah was co-hosting with Jennifer.   I`m forever grateful to Sarah for teaching me how to pin properly so that my seams match up...even though I`ve lost a few needles in the process! You can normally find Sarah doing her thing in Cork, Ireland.  She is creative and funny and pays it forward with her always successful series like Summer Sewing and Winter Stitching and {Sew} Get Started Tutorials.

Today, I took Sarah up to Imlil where we had a coffee by the pool, admired the snow-capped Atlas mountains and talked about what inspires her.

Annabella When you are offline, what things in life inspire you to create your beautiful quilts?
Sarah Weird things inspire me! Patterns in paving stones and tiles. Kids` toys. Words tend to go round in my head and get my creative thoughts working. Images and pictures. Colours. But honestly, most of my practical quilty inspiration comes when I am sitting in meetings at work. I have to attend a lot of multi-functional meetings where there are items on the agenda which are not relevant to me, and I tend to dream and doodle at these times. A lot of my quilts have been made from the doodles I make during these meetings! Oh - and dreams. Sometimes, when I am woken up by my lovely children (not) in the middle of the night and find it hard to go back to sleep, I think about quilts and then the next morning I wake up with fresh idea (yes I am weird!)

Annabella Is there a piece of music you love to listen to while in your sewing space?
Sarah I have a playlist on my iPod of all sorts of stuff - from Florence and the Machine to Adele to Bruce Springsteen to the Rolling Stones. Anything and everything. I also like to listen to classical music too (I played violin for many years) and love lots of different things like Dvorak and Elgar and Grieg.
Annabella Apart from your immediate family, who has been your greatest creative inspiration in your life and why?
Sarah Ooh, tricky question. Not sure I can answer that one...I've never seen myself as a creative person until very recently - in fact, the total opposite. I never had any one person I found an inspiration. I blame all you brilliant bloggers out there who dragged me out of my own little world and into a creative space by making beautiful things, blogging and chatting with me about them all! Since I started to read blogs and chat with other peeps who sewed, I got a new lease of life.

Annabella Is there one blog you find a constant source of inspiration?
 Sarah I love Elizabeth Hartman's blog Oh, Fransson! Her quilts are amazing and I love her aesthetic. I pretty much want to be her! I also love Attic 24 which is primarily a crochet blog but Lucy's use of colour is amazing and she has the most inspiring pictures.
Annabella  When I asked you to pick a quilt which was special to you, you chose the PictureBox quilt. Can you tell me about it?
Sarah`s PictureBox Quilt
 Sarah When I look back at my PictureBox quilt, I am kind of amazed at myself really. It was the third quilt I made, and I really didn't have a clue how much I didn't know at that stage. So I just jumped in with the complete faith in myself that comes from true ignorance of your limitations, lol! It was one of a set of 2 quilts I made for someone. I had some big panels of fabric I wanted to incorporate, so I built the design around that. It was inspired by the idea of framed prints, and picture frames. I played around with the layout for quite a long time before deciding on this one. It`s a toddler bed size quilt, about 64 x 56, although it was made at the time for a baby boy.  I quilted it densely using wonky straight lines, and I really loved how it turned out, it`s still one of my fave quilts I've ever made. Mostly because I just love the fabrics in it, love the simple design and feel that it is just perfect for a little boy`s room. It was the first quilt that I ever "designed" and still has a little place in my heart.  I was so in love with it, I wrote a tute for it too (not knowing how much work goes into writing one!)

Annabella I happen to love quilting books. Do you have a favorite? 
Sarah I love Material Obsession for the pure eye candy and inspiration, and I love The Practical Guide to Patchwork because I would pretty much make every single quilt out of it!

Anabella Do you pin Sarah? Where can people find you?
 Sarah Yes - I am on Pinterest at! I don't get over there as often as I would like, but I pin lots of tutes. It`s so much easier than bookmarking everything. There are so many beautiful things on Pinterest - its so easy to get sucked in for hours!
Annabella Is there a place you go which stirs your creative juices?
Sarah Online or in real life? Online - I tend to search around on Flickr and Pinterest when I'm looking for inspiration, but I actually prefer to sometimes step away from online when I am trying to come up with an idea or design because its so easy to be really influenced by what you see and I like to try and look inward and find something that is my own. In real life - not really! Probably to my kitchen table with a cup of tea and a notebook. I start by writing words I associate with the idea I'm looking for and it comes from there.
Annabella I can`t imagine you stuck for ideas but do you ever get the quilter`s equivalent of `writer`s block`?  What do you do to get through it?
Sarah Yes! I'm struggling a bit with it since Christmas to be honest, particularly in the last 3-4 weeks. I get like that when I am really tired, or the stress of my job takes over (which happens at certain times). Or when I'm not well. The other big culprit is when I'm working on a project I'm not feeling inspired by - it totally blocks everything else I have going on and I procrastinate terribly! The only solution is to dive in and get it done and then my mind gets cleared and I usually have a burst of energy. Or, my other solution is to go and make something small and fun with my fave fabrics just for a bit of self indulgence - something I want to make rather than have to make - it usually gets the creative juices flowing again.
Sarah`s Frogs and Snails quilt
 Annabella If you could have just 30 minutes with someone who really inspires you, who would it be?
 Sarah Do I have to pick just one? Yikes....I'm not sure! I think I would love to talk to someone like Lotta Jansdotter or Amy Butler or someone like that who has a finger in lots of pies - designing fabric, designing patterns and making a living from it all.
 AnabellaWhat is your favorite ever line of fabric?
Sarah I don't really have one favourite line and even though I use layer cakes, bundles etc for convenience, I am much more of a mix and match girl at heart. For me, the fun is mixing up prints, finding combinations that work. I love modern prints, particularly geometrics, whimsical prints and big, modern florals. I love bright colours much more than pastels. Some of my fave lines have been Bliss, Ruby, Its a Hoot, Origins, Hope Valley, Echo. I wish I had bought some Parisville when it was out. I have been very much into reds, aquas and pinks but actually lately I am drawn to a different colour range - greys, plums, aquas.  And, of course, I just love solids, I love working with solids only projects, they really push you to think about colour and design rather than just letting the fabric do the talking.
Annabella Who is your favorite designer?
Sarah Honestly I don't really have a favourite. I sometimes find that the fabrics lines from the same designer can be a bit same-y after a while so I chop and change. I love Lotta Jansdotter's fabrics and her general aesthethic. I love what I've seen of Denyse Schmidt fabrics even though a lot of them were before I started quilting. I love a lot of Amy Butler fabrics although some of them are too busy for my taste, similarly Anna Maria Horner, Heather Bailey. I like elements of a lot of the Moda designers - Kate Spain, Aneela Hoey, Momo - but sometimes there can be a lot of repetition of colours or themes in their fabrics.  I haven't owned any Tula Pink, and missed a lot of her stuff but think that I will buy her fabric in the future! I love Laurie Wisbrun too. And..and..and....Ok I'll stop now. I think its clear I am a fabric addict :-)
Thank you so much Sarah for a great interview! I`ve loved learning a little about what inspires you.

Do pop over to Sarah`s and say `hi` and take a look at her fabulous series {Sew} Get Started!


susan said...

Wonderful interview with Sarah. I hope your enjoyed yourselves relaxing by the pool!

Isisjem said...

Another great interview!

lou lou said...

Hi Annabella

How interesting - love it and thank you for sharing.

You are so talented lady - so talented!

x LOulou

Laura @ Needles, Pins and Baking Tins said...

Lovely interview! Bit miffed that I had to put up with a camel ride and Sarah gets that beautiful vista though... ;-)

Katy Cameron said...

Another fun interview, and looks like a fab location too!

Quilter in the Gap said...

The pool looks lovely. Sarah is inspiration to many of us, I am not sure she realizes that.

Prof. S said...

What Jan said: another great interview! So fun to's almost like we're there at the pool with you :)

diane said...

Great interview. hanks for sharing

Katherine said...

Another great interview, Annabella! Thanks to Sarah for sharing with us - so good to get a "behind the scenes" visit with her.

Archie the wonder dog said...

Another wonderful interview!

Flying Blind... said...

Yay for my twinnie - although now I know for sure she got the talent gene!

Sarah @ FairyFace Designs said...

Thanks for having me :-) I enjoyed out little chat and the pool is definitely more my scene than the camel! Thanks to everyone for the lovely comments too :-)

Cherie said...

Great interview!! Thanks for sharing!!

Cindy said...

What a lovely interview, A. I really enjoyed peeking into Sarah's brain a bit more :)

Catherine said...

great interview, very interesting reading

Anonymous said...

All of your quilts are beautiful! I feel truly inspired and have really enjoyed reading your blog :-)